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How to duplicate a File Explorer window on Windows 10

Browsers have a neat feature where if you click inside the URL bar and tap the Alt+Enter keyboard shortcut, the current tab will be duplicated. It’s basically a shortcut to copying the URL and pasting it in a new tab. The same feature can be really useful on desktops and desktop file explorers. Case in point; if you have a File Explorer window open to a certain folder and you’d like to open another window in the exact same folder. Unfortunately, the Alt+Enter keyboard shortcut is only for browsers. If you want to duplicate a File Explorer window, you’re going to have to use a different shortcut, and it’s going to have to be executed in two steps.

Duplicate File Explorer window

Go to the File Explorer window that you want to duplicate. Tap the Alt+F keyboard shortcut. A small menu will appear in the top right corner with a bunch of different options for opening windows or other apps like PowerShell. For each option, there will be a letter key that you can tap to execute it. Note the ‘Open new window’ option and the N key that’s associated with it.

This option may say ‘Open New Window’, and that leads users to think a new File Explorer window will open in either Quick Access or This PC, but it actually duplicates the current window. Go ahead and tap N on the keyboard.

Another File Explorer window will open, and it will open to the exact same folder as the one you opened it from.

This does have limitations. If you look closely at the windows in the screenshot above, you can see that one of them has a back button that you can click, and the other does not. The window with the inactive back button is the duplicated one. It does not support browsing history, which means if you opened the original folder by navigating to it via other folders/drives, you wouldn’t be able to go back to any of them in the duplicate window. The original window will still let you click the back button and go back to the previous folder you were in.

If you navigate to a different folder in the new, duplicate window, it will start to store your browsing history from that point forward, and you will be able to go back and forward. This isn’t exactly a shortcoming. It’s just how the app works and it makes some sense. The window that opens when you duplicate another window doesn’t really have any ‘history’ to go back to.

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